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Assessment in single-structure education


5.Single-structure primary and lower secondary education

5.3Assessment in single-structure education

Last update: 20 December 2023

Pupil assessment


Pupil assessment reflects the level of achieved results in respective subjects. It is performed continuously throughout the school year (formative evaluation) and overall, in the certificate (summative evaluation). Formative assessment is used to evaluate partial outcomes and performance of the pupil, and it has mainly a motivational character. The summative assessment in individual subjects usually takes place at the end of the first and second terms of the school year to give the most objective assessment of the pupil’s knowledge in a particular subject and behaviour. Schools define the form of formative assessment and the summative assessment for each subject in their school educational programmes.

Formative assessment in subjects can have the following forms:

  • marks,
  • verbal assessment,
  • a combination of the two above, or
  • other forms that comply with the principles and goals of education.

Summative assessment in subjects in the 1.-5. grade of primary school can have the following forms:

  • marks,
  • verbal assessment, or
  • a combination of the two above.

Summative assessment in subjects in the 6.-9. grade of primary school and at secondary school can have the following forms:

  • marks or
  • combination of marks and verbal assessment.

Assessment in individual subjects in the form of marks is performed on the following classification scale:

  • 1 – excellent,
  • 2 – very good,
  • 3 – good,
  • 4 – satisfactory,
  • 5 – unsatisfactory.

Verbal assessment is an evaluative description of how a pupil met the education goals in a subject. Combined assessment is

  • assessment in a subject expressed by a mark and the verbal assessment or
  • assessment by marks in some subjects and verbal assessment in others.

Performance in the subjects listed in the framework teaching plans must be assessed. However, schools can decide in which subjects pupils will not be assessed. Thus, many schools do not assess pupils in subjects like music, arts, physical education, etc. If a pupil was not assessed in a subject, the certificate will state 

  • 'actively completed', if the pupil actively attended the lessons,
  • 'completed', if the pupil did not attend the lessons and justified his/her absence or attended the lessons but did not work due to serious reasons,
  • 'not completed', if the pupil did not attend the lessons and did not justify his/her absence or did not work in the lessons, or
  • 'exempted', if the pupil was fully exempted from attending the subject.

The summative assessment contains the information on whether the pupil met all the subject requirements to progress to a higher grade. If a subject is taught in both terms or only in the second term, the information is given at the end of the second term. Pupils fail a subject if they

  • receive the unsatisfactory mark,
  • are verbally assessed as follows: 'The pupil did not meet the requirements to progress to the higher grade', or
  • do not complete the subject.

The pupil’s behaviour is assessed using the following marks:

  • 1 - very good,
  • 2 - satisfactory,
  • 3 - poor,
  • 4 - unsatisfactory.

Under the Education Act, the assessment system must be published in the school educational programme in detail for each subject in both the formative and summative assessment.

Teachers obtain the information for pupil assessment and marking mainly through monitoring the pupil’s performance and preparedness for lessons. For this purpose, they use various kinds of examinations (written, oral, graphic, practical, and physical skills), analyse different activities of the pupil, and interview the pupil and his/her parents. Primary school pupils must take exams in individual subjects in oral and written form or practically at least twice in a term. The teacher is obliged to keep a record of pupils’ marks. The weight of individual marks is defined in the school educational programme, usually based on the difficulty of the assigned tasks.
Summative assessment

The summative assessment at the end of the first term and the second term reflect pupils’ assessment in subjects and assessment of their behaviour. Pupils’ summative assessment at the end of the first and second term is stated in the certificate as follows:

  • Passed with honours,
  • Passed with merits,
  • Passed,
  • Failed.

Pupils have passed in terms of the summative assessment if:

  • They met all the requirements for progression to a higher grade in all subjects assessed verbally,
  • They do not receive an unsatisfactory mark in any subject assessed  with marks,
  • They meet the above-mentioned criteria in the combined assessment.

Pupils attending education in international programmes are evaluated according to the assessment rules set by these programmes. The evaluation and marking of pupils with special education needs in mainstream primary schools are generally defined in the school educational programme in compliance with the Education Act. If necessary, the pupil’s assessment may be adapted in the individual educational plan. When assessing educational results, teachers consider the mental and physical health state of pupils and the kind and extent of their disorder if it affects the level and results of the pupils’ work in the respective subjects. Teachers assess pupils’ achievements impartially and adequately to the difficulty of the subject matter and consider their effort, conscientiousness, individual abilities, interests, and preconditions for further education after completing compulsory school attendance. Teachers obtain information for the assessment of pupils’ educational results and behaviour by consulting other pedagogical staff and if necessary, the professional staff from a counselling and prevention centre.

The legislature defines the framework of rules for pupils’ conduct in and outside school; specific requirements are set by each school in its school rules. The code of conduct is defined by the Decree on Primary Schools (Vyhláška o základnej škole). School rules are issued by headteachers after discussion with school authorities and the pedagogical council. The rules are binding for all pupils. Pupils may receive commendation or reward for model behaviour or exemplary fulfilment of their duties or a courageous deed. Pupils who contravene the school rules may receive a reprimand or rebuke from the class teacher or headteacher or be conditionally expelled or expelled from the school. Pupils cannot be expelled during their compulsory school attendance.

External assessment

External assessment is based on nationwide testing. More information on external testing of pupils can be found in chapter 11.1 Quality assurance in early childhood and school education.


Progression of pupils


A primary school pupil who successfully completed the respective grade, that is a pupil who passed at the end of the school year, progresses to the next grade. A pupil who was assessed as unsatisfactory or achieved unsatisfactory results at the end of the second term in more than two compulsory subjects will repeat the grade during compulsory school attendance. School legislation does not define how many times pupils in compulsory school attendance can repeat a grade. A grade is also repeated by the pupil who was not assessed due to serious, usually health reasons, not even on the alternative date. If it is not possible to assess a pupil at the end of the first term for serious objective reasons, the headteacher sets up an alternative date for assessment so that the pupil can be assessed within two months after the end of the first term at the latest. If it is impossible to assess the pupil on the alternative date, the pupil is not assessed for the first term.

1–9.-grade pupils who are assessed as 'failed' at most in two compulsory subjects at the end of the second term can retake the examination based on the headteacher's decision, which is the commission examination. An adult pupil or a parent of a minor pupil who doubts the appropriateness of the assessment at the end of the first and second term can ask the headteacher to take a commission examination. This examination must be held by 31 August, the date is determined by the headteacher. The commission exam commission consists of at least three members, who are appointed by the headteacher. The result of the commission examination will be publicly announced by the commission chairman on the day of the commission examination. All commission examination results are final for pupil assessment. If a pupil cannot retake the examination for serious reasons, the headteacher allows him/her to take the exams by 10 September; until then, the pupil conditionally attends instruction in the next higher grade. Pupils are allowed to retake only one examination a day. Unsuccessful pupils must repeat the respective grade.

After completing the fifth grade of primary school, the gifted pupils are offered the possibility to continue their study in an 8-year programme at a gymnasium or an 8-year programme at a conservatoire. An exceptionally gifted pupil can be transferred to a higher grade by the headteacher without having completed the lower grade based on the commission examination results. Pupils can be transferred to a higher grade only with the parents’ consent.




The certificate issued by schools at the end of the second semester of each primary school grade certifies the achieved education. The document is a public instrument, and it is issued upon the parent’s request. On the last day of first-term instruction (31 January), the school will issue its pupils with a copy of their assessment record in individual subjects and behaviour for the first term. This copy is not a public instrument.  On the last day of the school year (30 June), all pupils are issued a certificate that contains pupil assessment in individual subjects and behaviour for both terms of the respective school year.

The certificates of achieved education are issued in the state language. Certificates issued by schools with the language of instruction other than the state language are bilingual, which means they are issued in the state language and the national minority language. Certificates issued by schools that provide bilingual education are issued in both languages of instruction or the state language and the foreign language. Certificates of achieved education issued by schools or classes which provide education according to an international programme are issued in the state language and another language of instruction.

Upon completion of the respective grade of an educational programme by which the pupil achieves a level of education, the pupil is issued a certificate with a supplement certifying the achieved level of education. Upon successful completion of the last year of the educational programme for the first stage of primary school, the pupil receives primary education. The fourth-grade certificate supplement states that 'Pupil received primary education'. Upon successful completion of the last year of integrated part of educational programme for the second stage of primary school, the pupil receives the lower secondary education provided by primary school. The certificate supplement states that 'Pupil received lower secondary education'. If pupils complete compulsory school attendance in a lower than grade 9, their certificate with a supplement from the respective grade states that 'Pupil received primary education'. Intellectually gifted pupils may complete primary school in less than nine years. Their certificate with supplement states that 'Pupil received lower secondary education'.

The certificates of achieved education are public instruments and can be issued by schools listed in the register of schools and school facilities under Act no. 596/2003 Coll. on state administration in education and school self-government (Zákon č. 596/2003 Z. z. o štátnej správe v školstve a školskej samospráve). They are issued on forms approved by the Ministry of Education for individual types of schools and school facilities. The forms are published in the Library of Pedagogical Documentation Forms (Knižnica vzorov pedagogickej dokumentácie a dokladov).  Data on the certificates of achieved education must be consistent with the data of the child or pupil recorded in the relevant pedagogical documentation. The headteacher is responsible for the consistency of data and correct completion of the form. Signatures on the certificates of achieved education must be handwritten. It is forbidden to correct data in certificates of achieved education.

The certificates must contain the school’s name, pupil’s name and surname, date and place of birth, nationality, class, grade, school year, citizenship, class record number, birth number, year of school attendance, Slovak qualification framework/European qualification framework level, behaviour, subjects, achievement in each term of the school year, summative assessment, supplement, missed lessons – justified and unjustified, date, class teacher’s signature, headteacher’s signature, and the school’s official stamp. Certificates in electronic form must be printed on special with the state emblem, protective elements, and a serial number.